Happy Dance!

12240869_144510965907901_3036041873794624632_oI just found out I passed both my physiology exams, and with distinction, too! Perhaps I can relax a little now. Or, I will raise the bar and become displeased when I don´t reach the level of distinction… No, I must guard myself, be happy, and don´t worry about results. The important thing is to focus on the learning, not the results.

But I will celebrate! 😀


Academic Ceremony

20151115_125037I didn’t go last year, but now I felt quite in the mood again; being back at the university may have something to do with it. I missed the lecture of this year’s honorary doctor of philosophy, Katarina Kieri, who is one of the best and most versatile Swedish authors, being both poet and novelist, writing as interestingly for children, young adults, and grown-ups. I have not read enough by her. As far as I can I can tell, she is not translated to English. I did think they would have filmed the lecture, as they did with Benny Andersson, and others, but apparently not.  🙁

Empty stage, pre-ceremony.

Three of my teachers were graduated to PhDs, along with many others. New professors were also installed. I drew during the almost four hour long ceremony, which made it feel a lot faster. Unusually, a lot of children had been brought along, and a few of them were quite disturbing. Really, this kind of ceremony is no place for kids. I think some people were quite miffed about it.

My biggest challenge is getting all the people the right size. The stewardesse in the back is not that huge in reality…
I may repost these if I find the time to paint the dresses, which were some lovely colours.

I was lucky to be seated with the nicest, most interesting group of people at dinner (ok, have to brag a bit, sat next to the former county governor 😀 ). The food was unusually good, we were not disturbed with entertainment or speeches during the main course, and the musical features were outstanding. Really, it was probably, as a whole,  one of the best shows the university has put on, and I was lucky enough to be invited.

The music was, as usual, top quality!

Of course, there were much dancing afterwards, unrestrained by dress suits and folk costumes and… – no, I personally was terribly restrained by my high heels (what was I thinking?), lasting only two dances and loosing all feeling in my toes. And don´t get me started on the pain I still have in dem legs… I consider myself lucky not to have broken the scaphoid bone when the heel caught in the skirt hem and I tumbled down the stairs (no kidding)!





I am linking up this Tuesday with Bleubeard & Elisabeth for T, even though my own beaverage is slightly more fancy this time. Elisabeth´s theme is compassion and the horrid events in Paris last Friday, and for certain, that put a damper on the celebrations at our end, too. Still, people were happy about their achievements, and I reflected on how many of the new PhDs and professors had Arabic names, Slav names, Spanish names, German names, French names, Chinese names, and names I can´t even guess where they´re from. Our university is truly international, everyone is working together and dancing together, and that makes me very proud.



Tenta Time

The Swedish word for university exam is tentamen, or tenta in daily speech. We have two semesters, autumn and spring, and every semester has two reading periods. Reading periods 1 and 2 are in the autumn and periods 3 and 4 are in the spring. At the end of each reading period comes tenta period, a week of lecture free study time -cramming! – and then the great climax: the exams.

20151026_113844When I came home on Monday afternoon, I had to laugh at my shopping. It was all uppers (candy), downers (gin and tonic, which I take in small amounts ONLY if I get panicked and need to knock the top off the stress – no need this time 🙂 ), and a huge stash of the easiest comfort food available (pirogi). I am enormously indebted to my brother-in-law, for coming to stay with the mum-in-law, who is unwell again and has been admitted to hospital for a few days. The husband is travelling, and having the brother-in-law here has meant all the difference for me; I have been queen of my own time.

Not much time to draw, but I passed a new forested park on my way home from school one day last week. That really was the best downer of all, to sit and just draw.



T for Talking books

bokläsIt has taken me some time to get comfortable with talking books, which is what I am limited to when the asthma is making it impossible to read the printed editions. Being of a visual inclination, I tend to remember what I see rather than what I hear, and my usual mode of operation is to leaf through the books before a lecture, to “take it in” so to speak, and plant the seeds in my brain. A talking book, however, is very much of a sequential nature, and the main one for this course is 50 hours! Lots of tables, summaries in little squares in the margin, schematical drawings and things like that, to make learning easier for the visual mind.

I was lucky enough to get a brief chat with a classmate who is extremely audile (I think these people are rare), and she said: go to the lecture first, take notes, review them, and take the book for a walk, or clean the house while listening. That was more or less the opposite of what I had been doing, sitting at the desk with pen in hand, trying to make sense of what I was hearing. I think it is working. Also, my milage is mounting as I spend hours walking around, at a fairly leisurely pace, trying to absorb the technical aspects of the respiratory system, the cardio-vascular system, the nervous system, and whatnot. Lucky for me, the weather has been smashing (although a bit cold)!


SolaI have started bringing a tea thermos out with me. So here I sit, basking in the sun (we had ten degrees today, warm enough to go bare-headed), listening, doing the occasional drawing and having my cuppa, and from here I join the T Tuesday party over at Bleubeard & Elisabeth’s. Happy T-Day!



Digital Ink

What is going on with this text? I got myself a new toy. Actually, this text is written by hand and translated into typed text. It’s like an alternative keyboard, and so far, it seems to work better in English than it does in Swedish, why I don’t actually know. I imagine, however, that this is the kind of software that learns while it is being used. Either by all its users or by this particular user.

penmanshipI am very fond of writing by hand, and pride myself on having decent penmanship, a word I happen, ironically, to have trouble teaching the software to understand. On a regular pc, with a regular keyboard, this wouldn’t be of any use, but on the tablet, with a screen keyboard made for child fingers (how some people manage to write entire books on smartphones is beyond my comprehension) it makes a lot of sense. lt wasn’t faster to write this first text for the blog, but I hope we shall become better at it, the keyboard and I.

Nya keyboarden
I just had to add some coloured digital ink to this sketch. My new Jot Pro stylus is vastly improving the digital sketching!

Flying high!

20151005_171957This sketch, which is the tenth I made, still looks nothing like the nephew, but that´s what it´s like trying to sketch handsome folk – their likeness is incredibly hard to capture. And he is blonde with a red beard; the beard made me choose a home-made ink, made from bird-cherry (I will tell you more about that later). Wish I could also capture his easy and kind personality, but no pen can manage that, even in the hands of a master… (which I am not!)

Anyway, the nephew is celebrating and is being celebrated for having recieved his pilot´s  licence. It has been his dream for a long time: after highschool he trained as an airplane mechanic in the Swedish Airforce, then he studied to become an airplane engineer at university, and at 28, he decided to go for The Big Dream, applied for pilot school and was accepted as the oldest student in his class. Actually, his decision to do so is largly what inspired me to go back to school, even though I am way older, have known him since he was five and pretty much still thinks of him as, well, young. We look forward to having a proper toast when we meet next time, at Christmas!



20150930_203051We got a few short hours of breathing space, and then flung ourselves onto the next challenge: Anatomy and physiology. This is heavy stuff, no group assignments here, no relativity, no opinions about the proper perspective! Everyone is chuffed and eager to learn something “for real”.

On the first day we were served some 50 bodyparts in Latin and Swedish. Especially Latin. I need to buy myself an anatomical atlas in English, as the Swedish ones are not e-published. No problem, says the professor, it’s just that the English/Americans say everything backwards… ok. I’ll be fine, I’m sure.

The joke is this: ben = leg or bone, so: Ben-jamin, get it?
The joke is this: ben = leg or bone, so: Ben-jamin, get it? 

What I am learning

Also, I learned to ride a scooter; really fast!

The more I reflect on my two days in “the field”, the more I realize I learned. In this course we are learning a whole new language with which to reflect on such things as human dignity, kind treatment, care, and ethical dilemmas. Some of the issues I can really relate to from the perspective of being next of kin to a very ill person, with the experience of countless encounters with medical staff during the last few years.

It was a surprise to me how detailed the law is on the topic of good care. Really, in retrospect, I have seen many a stressed out doctor and nurse behave in a way that is really questionable from a legal perspective, but certainly understandable from a human point of view. I guess patients are emphatic creatures, too, and indulgent.


The LuleĂĽ bus station

Last week I had two days of so called “field studies”. The object of the exercise was to observe a nurse in her daily work and then write a report on it. I had to go to Kalix, a town about 80 km north of here. That meant waking up at 4 am to catch a bus at 5.15 in order to start work at 7. Yawn! The hardest thing is going to sleep early enough in the evening. I quit at 15.30 and was back home a little after 18.

It was worth it, though; I learned a ton! The medical stuff is Greek to me, of course, but I got some insight into the working conditions of a ward nurse. That is not the kind of position I want (no more night work for me, if I can avoid it!), but they really think they have the best job and they advised me to avoid student practicing in just the kind of workplace I am aiming for. 😀 Nursing certainly is a wide field.

The bus driver having a smoke just before we take off in the morning.